Who are your influences?
Influences? Anything & everything, really. I guess if I had to name specifics, mostly science, my family, & the incredible drive and creativity of other people (Communication Arts is critical). Essentially, I got into illustration through lifelong exposure & practice. My father is a photographer (and spent the better part of his life teaching commercial photography), and my maternal grandparents were both artists. My grandfather painted architectural renderings by trade (back in the days before CAD), and was a phenomenal watercolor painter for years. [He] then moved into oils later in his life. My grandmother was a charcoal and conté fine artist, doing primarily portrait work, although she didn’t do it commercially–just sold her work through a few galleries. I grew up going to gallery openings and around lots of artists and illustrators in Atlanta.
As a kid, my grandfather gave me technical drawing & perspective lessons during the summers and I was always reading & drawing when I was young. In high school I kind of dropped it and got serious about acting, as I attended a public school with a remarkable performing arts program. But once I got into drama school as an undergraduate, I realized that a.) actors are super-annoying, and b.) I wouldn’t have time to learn anything else. So I kind of bounced around the Syracuse arts & sciences where I settled on what was then called “biopsychology”, (now known as cognitive neuroscience) and started drawing again. I had lots of friends in the visual arts program there and they convinced me to transfer. I finished out my degree in psychology but my last two years were spent in the art department studying everything I could get my hands on–the facilities there were absolutely amazing.
Professionally, it took quite a few years to get an illustration “career” rolling. Had bills to pay and no real portfolio, plus a keen desire to spend my time doing stuff outside. Did my time learning the software in a wide variety of jobs and schools, but when it did finally start to congeal, it was mostly thanks to a few things: Shoshana Berger at ReadyMade magazine (who hired me as an intern and introduced me to a crapload of Bay Area magazine people) and the fact that I was just always drawing. And I just happened to have developed a style that was clean, informative and I am a fanatic about detail. Oh, and my awesome wife who has a steady job. Although I am lucky to have some great clients in the stable, Freelance illustration is not exactly known for its predictable payment schedule.
What is one tool of your trade that you couldn’t give up?
Pencil & paper. Its my go-to for everything. The computer is amazing, especially for technical drawing, but the pencil is where its at.
What is your favorite thing to do when you get away from work?
Be outside doing anything I can. Since I moved back east, I have had to abandon most of my winter/alpine pursuits and have concentrated on fly-fishing and cold-water surfing. The Jersey shore is a nightmare in the summer, but come October its awesome– 30˚ air temps tend to really thin out the lineup. Although, when the waves are really good, (not often) there is always a hearty crew of locals out there.
What would be your go-to weapon in a zombie attack?
Depends… what sort of accessibility are we talking here? An ideal, or something that I already have? And do I only get one? Well, if I could only have one, I would opt for something like a mid-length double-edged broadsword, or a heavy-duty machete (minimum 18”). No reload, no noise, so you don’t give away your position and the double edge would be ideal for dealing with multiples. Plus you can do a ton of shit with a machete. Not sure how much you would want to be building shelter with something covered in zombie gore, but perhaps it would mask your odor.
Obviously, this requires a bad, bad proximity to the afflicted, and if I could get TWO weapons, then the other would definitely be a 9mm H&K MP5 with a retractable stock. Small, light and easily manageable in semi-auto, the fully-auto rate of fire is perfect for close quarters, but with a stock it could be used for steady mid-distance targeting or hunting small game. Ammo is ubiquitous at any gun shop you might come across and it takes a tactical flash suppressor or silencer (assuming you could find something like that), to minimize your sound footprint. Do I get one more? A .223 hunting rifle with a scope–sometimes you gotta get your snipe on.
With grandparents that taught and encouraged drawing at an early age and photographer father, Damien Scogin has been working visually as long as he can remember. A recent Eastward migration has rekindled his appreciation for hardwoods and the intelligence of the average Catskill trout. He currently lives in the northern fringes of Manhattan with his wife, a brand-new daughter and a fat cat.